Monday 29 December 2014

This Shattered World

This Shattered World, Book 2 in the Starbound Trilogy, by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)
YA RRP $18.99
ISBN 9781743319703
Reviewed by Yvonne Mes

This Shattered World is the second sci-fi romance novel in the Starbound Trilogy and set in the same universe as These Broken Stars. We meet Captain Jubilee Chase, leader of the Trodairi on the planet Avon where she is admired, respected and feared by all. We also meet Flynn Cormac one of the leaders of the planet's rebels, smart, charismatic, and prefers to solve problems without violence.

Soldiers and rebels are fighting for control over the planet. The rebels, also known as the Fienna, are long ago decedents of the Irish and fight for a better life for their people. Outsiders, including the soldiers, don't last long on Avon as they are vulnerable to the Fury, a sudden state of violent behaviour, though for unknown reasons Captain Lee is immune.

Avon is a low-tech planet hindered as by its atmosphere and Avon is little more than a swamp. Flynn knows the planet should have advanced further through the terra-forming process and wants to know why this hasn't happened. He also wants to know more about a mysterious facility he has discovered in the swamp.

The story is told from both Flynn's and Lee's perspectives interspersed by short, dream segments often featuring Captain Lee as a child.

The romance between Flynn and Lee seems impossible; Jubilee's had a tragic history with rebels during her childhood and Flynn is learning to live with the execution of his sister by the Trodairi. Lee and Flynn are pushed together in a quest to save the lives of citizens, rebels and soldiers. Their strong physical attraction increases into something more as they are forced to see each other as real people and not the caricatures they had expected.

There are many fights to be fought, hardships to endure, and many intriguing mysteries to be solved. This was a good read, though the plot took its time to develop.

Tarver and Lilac, the main characters from These Broken Stars make a brief return but are not the focus of this novel which may have surprised and possibly saddened some readers. This Shattered World could be read on its own, but the return of the whispers and the involvement of the LeRoux company and what may follow in the next novel make it worthwhile reading These Broken Stars first.

Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (author of the Skylark trilogy) have made some great world building choices including an emphasis on the connection to culture, doing away with gender inequalities, and acceptance of same sex relationships.  The divide between rich and poor is still strong and the main cause for conflict. The authors' collaborative effort has been built over many years of writing together, and its shows.

Yvonne Mes is a children's writer and illustrator. Her first picture book, Meet Sidney Nolan (Random House) is scheduled for release in October 2015.

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